What's Up With Spikeball?

By Francheska M. Loza

You’ve probably seen it before: a small, black and yellow net set up on one of Harvard’s lawns, and a group of four people hitting a ball back and forth, dodging each other and slamming the ball down into the net. We’ve heard the term “Spikeball” before, but how many of us really know the intricacies of the game? Fortunately, we’ve got your back, and caught up with one of the founders of the Spikeball team at Harvard, Canyon S. Woodward ’16, to find out.

Flyby: What are the rules of the game?
Canyon: Spikeball is played two against two, similar to beach volleyball, except instead of hitting the ball over a net, you and your partner spike into a trampoline that sends the ball ricocheting back up. The goal is to hit the ball so that your opponents can't successfully return it onto the net within their allotted 3 hits. The game is played 360 degrees around the net, with no sides after the initial serve.

Flyby: Why do you think it's so popular at Harvard?
CW: Spikeball is popular because it's so visible and accessible. If the weather is good, you're likely to see someone playing if you take a stroll through the Yard. The Spikeball club has created a very open community for folks to come and try the sport out, and the learning curve is surprisingly quick. People have fun with it and stick around. Even Dean Khurana plays! Also, it certainly doesn't hurt that you can play it with drink in hand.

Flyby: Where do you play? How often are the practices?
CW : We play in Tercentenary Theater every Friday 3 p.m. - 5 p.m., and practices are open to everyone.

Flyby: What is the team like?CW: It’s a high concentration of attractive individuals, who are weird to their core. Don't come unless you're ready to experience freedom, liberation, respect, and become a smarter, better looking person.

Flyby: What are the most challenging aspects of the game?
CW: Learning to use both hands effectively, hitting from every angle, and building chemistry with your partner.

Flyby: How did you learn to play? When did you start?
CW: I started playing five years ago when my brothers brought it back from UNC, and I’ve been playing ever since. I brought it to Harvard my freshman year and feel like I've propagated it pretty successfully throughout campus and the Boston area. Last month we had a tournament that drew a full 64 team bracket (more than any of the 3 officially sanctioned Spikeball Regional Championships in September), in the spring we hosted the first USA Spikeball sanctioned Grand Slam tournament, and last December we had teams fly in from all over to play in the Frozen Chozen - from California to Georgia to Maine and Canada.

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